Do you have a laptop and are wondering if you can stream twitch with it? In this article, I will explain everything from A to Z.
So, can we stream with a laptop?
Best Laptop For Live Streaming
Streaming with a laptop PC is possible. The minimum config to have for the streamer is an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor or a Ryzen 5 5000 series, with a dedicated graphics card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 3060 (or better) and at least 16 GB of RAM.
With a good setup, you can stream completely with a laptop PC. However, it is not the best choice if you are new to streaming and I will explain why.
Minimum configuration to stream On a laptop PC
To summarize, the minimum configuration to stream on Twitch with a laptop in good conditions is:
- 8-core / 16-thread processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5xxx, or 11th generation Intel Core i7 (Tiger Lake H).
- Graphics card: RTX 3060 or higher
- RAM: 16GB of RAM
- Storage: At least 500 GB NVMe SSD.
- Screen: Full HD, 144hz
Let’s start with the processor. To make it short, any recent processor with 6 cores and 12 threads will do the trick for gaming and streaming.
The best is to opt for an 8-core / 16-thread processor, just to be quiet for a while.
I strongly advise against 4 cores today which have become extremely obsolete for gaming. Concretely the 9th generation i7 (and more) will do the trick, and the Ryzen 5 4000 series too.
Regarding the graphics card now. The minimum to have as a graphics card is a GTX 1650. But this is really for beginners or for small games (CS: GO, LoL, etc.)
The best is to opt for a card from the RTX 3060 range to 3080.
The advantage with Nvidia cards is the NVENC encoding which frees the processor from video encoding.
This is essential if you want to stream on your laptop PC.
Finally, aim for at least 16 GB of DDR4 RAM. I did a dedicated article to find out what is the minimum RAM to have to stream.
Best Laptop For Live Streaming | Comparison Table 2021
|Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-54-760S Gaming Laptop | Intel i7-11800H | NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Laptop GPU | 15.6" Full HD 144Hz 3ms IPS Display | 16GB DDR4 | 512GB SSD | Killer WiFi 6 | RGB Keyboard||Acer||Check Price|
|Newest Dell G5 15.6” FHD Gaming Laptop, i7-10750H, Backlit Keyboard, Bluetooth, USB-C, HDMI, Mini DP, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti, Windows 10 Home, Black (32GB RAM | 1TB PCIe SSD)||Dell||Check Price|
|HP Spectre x360 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch Laptop, Intel i7-1065G7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Bang & Olufsen, Fingerprint Reader, HP Stylus, Nightfall Black, Win 10 Home, 64GB TechWarehouse Flash Drive||HP||Check Price|
|ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 Laptop, 15.6” 4K UHD NanoEdge Touch Display, Intel Core i7-10750H, 16GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, GeForce RTX 2060, ScreenPad Plus, Windows 10 Pro, Celestial Blue, UX581LV-XS74T||ASUS||Check Price|
|MSI GS65 Stealth-1668 Thin 15.6" 144Hz 7ms Ultra Thin and Light Gaming Laptop Intel Core i7-9750H GTX1660Ti 16GB 512GB NVMe SSD TB3 Win10 VR Ready||MSI||Check Price|
|2021 Lenovo Chromebook Flex 11" 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 11.6-Inch HD Touch Screen, MediaTek MT8173C Quad-Core Processor, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB eMMC, HDMI, Webcam, Chrome OS /Legendary Accessories||Lenovo||Check Price|
|2021 Asus TUF Gaming FX505 15.6” FHD 144Hz Laptop Computer, 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H, 32GB RAM, 1TB HDD+ 1TB SSD, Backlit KB, HD Webcam, GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, Win 10, Black, 32GB SnowBell USB Card||ASUS||Check Price|
|2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Silver||Apple||Check Price|
|ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II Gaming Laptop, 17.3” 144Hz IPS-Type FHD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB, Intel Core i7-8750H Processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD + 1TB SSHD, RGB KB, Windows 10 - GL704GW-DS76||ASUS||Check Price|
Best Laptop For Live Streaming | 2021 ReviewsError: Unknown Link Type
What to have on a laptop to stream in 2021 | Buyer’s Guide
You might not know it, but streaming takes a lot of resources. Therefore you need to have a certain class of components especially if you want to stream AAA games with advanced graphics.
The way I chose these PCs was therefore quite drastic because I didn’t want to make you believe that with a laptop PC at 800 $ you will be able to stream Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p-60fps with full blast.
So here are the criteria I used to select the PCs:
- Minimum 6c / 12t processor, preferably 8c / 16t
- Nvidia graphics card with ray-tracing and NVENC
- 16 GB of RAM Minimum
- 1TB NVMe SSD
The processor must have a minimum of 6 cores and 12 latest generation threads from Intel & AMD for modern games. Developers are increasingly parallelizing games, which means they are getting to use every core available on today’s processors. A processor that does not have enough cores will be greatly penalized in the game. You will thus have a lot of jerks even if the average fps is correct. On top of that, if you stream, the processor will simply be overwhelmed by the load, even with the NVENC.
The Nvidia graphics card is mainly there for the NVENC which is the hardware encoder from Nvidia and which limits FPS losses when you stream. In addition, you will have the possibility of activating ray-tracing which is the technology of the future for games.
The 16 GB of RAM in DDR4 is a minimum. 32 GB would be better, but you can easily upgrade the RAM on all gaming laptops without too much difficulty. So having “only” 16GB is not a problem right away.
The NVMe SSD disk is essential for ease of use but especially for future games which will be based only on SSDs as storage disks. Indeed the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles will have ultra-fast NVMe SSDs which will radically change the way in which developers will code their games. Thus we could see games arriving requiring an NVMe SSD to play. Well, this is all just a guess, but I believe that anyway opting for NVMe is worth the cost.
Why you shouldn’t …
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think you should buy a laptop for streaming. Here are the reasons:
If you’ve looked at my selection, you’ve probably noticed how salty the bill for some of these machines was. This is not surprising in the world of laptops, the price of machines goes up very quickly if you want to have the latest components.
It is for me, the first big break. Indeed, in terms of performance/price ratio, a fixed PC will be much more advantageous. With a fixed PC at 1500 $, you will already have high-end performance, while in my selection it is the minimum for drinking laptops in streaming.
With the tour, you will be able to change the graphics card, RAM processor in short, whatever you want if you are a bit of a handyman. On laptops, upgrades are limited to RAM and SSDs. Important components like the CPU and GPU are soldered to the PCBs on the motherboard (most often). It is therefore impossible to gain in performance over time.
Laptops have 15 ″, 17 ″, etc. screens, this is sufficient for playing on the go in a hotel room, but for streaming, you will quickly feel stuck by the lack of available screens. When it comes to managing the game, OBS, and the return of the stream having a big screen (27 ″) is almost a must. Quite quickly you will therefore have to take a PC screen, and from there, your laptop PC will stick most of the time on your desk …
Noise and heat
Of all the gaming laptops I’ve had none of them have been quiet in-game …
At the same time manufacturers cannot circumvent the laws of physics and therefore to properly cool the components they are forced to run small fans very quickly which generates noise.
Moreover, even with these fans, the components will reach much higher temperatures than in a well-made stationary PC. However, the lower the temperature of silicon chips, the better they are. In terms of longevity, a gaming laptop is not as good as a desktop PC precisely because of these high temperatures.
These are the reasons that push me not to buy a laptop PC to stream. However, there are cases where buying a laptop PC to stream may make sense …
Case in point was buying a laptop PC to stream makes sense
You are hypermobile
If you know that you are going to be very mobile for the next few years of your life for example if you are a student or an expatriate then taking a laptop PC to stream may be justified. As a student, you will need a laptop PC for your course anyway, so having an all-in-one machine is a practical solution. In addition, if you have internships or semesters abroad your laptop can follow you everywhere. The thing is, you really have to need mobility.
You lack space at home
A desktop PC takes up space! However, not everyone has the space at home to set up an office with a screen and a tower. A laptop PC can then be a solution that lacks vital space.
You already have a good desktop PC
If you already have a good desktop PC setup and would like to have a PC powerful enough to accompany you on the go. So I have absolutely no objection to buying a laptop PC for streaming.
Why You Shouldn’t Take a Laptop To Stream
It is time to move on to the angry topic.
I sincerely advise you not to buy a laptop PC to stream. Although technically possible, these machines suffer from a significant performance deficit compared to their desktop counterparts.
It’s simple, everything is revised downwards, and the price is revised upwards.
So, you are going to spend quite a bit of money to have overall lower performance and experience.
It is especially at the level of processors where laptops are disadvantaged.
Faced with a Desktop equivalent, mobile processors are forced to keep a reasonable thermal envelope. The frequencies are therefore revised downwards to the detriment of performance.
That said, laptops have really evolved a lot in recent years, and the performance difference between desktop PCs has narrowed quite a bit, especially when it comes to graphics cards.
Finally, with a portable PC, you will not be able to upgrade your config, apart from putting in a little more RAM and better storage. Forget about upgrading your graphics card or processor in the future …
The other concern is the screen.
On a laptop PC the screen will break 17 ”, but for streaming in good condition having two good screens is almost essential.
But you can overcome this problem by buying another screen, but even if it means having a screen as much connected to a stationary PC, right?
I have had quite a few portable gaming PCs over the past few years. And I have to say that my experience with these machines is quite mixed. Those were the days when high-end graphics cards were just watered-down versions of midrange desktop cards.
In general, after 2 years these machines broke down and the performance was no longer really up to par.
Today things have changed a lot. The performance difference between mobile and desktop graphics cards has narrowed and mobile processors are no longer on the market (especially on the AMD side) compared to their desktop counterparts.
And so buying a laptop PC in 2021 is far from bad. The performances are there, only the prices remain too high in my opinion.